After the Quake

Haruki Murakami

i’ve been kind of hesitant on murakami — partially a wariness of the “genius” label often partnered with him. also because the few books i’ve read (Norwegian Wood and Sputnik Sweetheart) had these weird female characters that creeped me out. friends of mine who had read other works by him related having similar responses, so i didn’t go out of my way to read much of his work. though last summer i read Underground, his nonfiction book about the Tokyo gas attacks where i found even some of his commentary of interviewees gave me that aversion reaction. recently though, The New Yorker printed a story of his, “Ice Man,” which is a great story and absent of any creepy-feelings-inducing aspects. so i was excited to find this collection of six short stories, all with the common theme of the Kobe earthquake of 1995. now i’m wondering if i just happened to stumble upon the books with odd characters that made a pattern of creepiness, as i didn’t find any of that here. in fact, i was again endangering my proper subway disembarking and was very sad to be finished with the book. (even if the last story ended on a kind of over-sentimental note. though it does make sense in context.)